When it comes to shrimp I’m a creature of habit. Though I love them fried, grilled, baked, and broiled, my absolute favorite way to eat them is sauteed. Sauteing is quick, easy, and results positively perfect shrimp every time!
Though I’ve been known to eat them straight out of the pan, I figured I’d keep up some sort of semblance of civility and provide you with a recipe for an actual meal, in case you’re in to that sort of thing. I’m pretty much known for this tasty plate-o-pasta swirled with pesto and flecked with veggies… But first, the shrimp:
1/4-1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cajun seasoning blend
1/8 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp paprika
salt and pepper to taste
For extra buttery shrimp, feel free to add an extra tablespoon of butter. Adding extra butter and garlic will make these shrimp into the perfect shrimp scampi! Craving spicy shrimp? Add cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, or sriracha chili sauce. Add all three and you’ll basically need to dunk your face in a glass of milk. Have fun with that!
shrimp prep: For this recipe I’m using jumbo, frozen wild-caught shrimp from Eastern Fish Company. After defrosting the shrimp, you’ll want to rinse, devein, and partially peel the shrimp, leaving the tail intact.
Prepping shrimp is easy once you know how!
My pilot-turned-hand-model and I will walk you through it:
After defrosting, rinse the shrimp with cool water in a colander and fill a bowl with ice and water. A small pairing knife will work, but OXO’s nifty shrimp cleaning tool will make the prep work a breeze! It’s perfect for someone, like myself, who has a sordid history with knife accidents. I’m downright clumsy. Anywho! Grab your shrimp cleaner and insert it into the shrimp, lining it up where the vein starts at the head. In one fluid motion, push the tool through the shrimp [leaving about an inch above the tail] and yank upward, splitting the shell and removing the vein. If the shrimp has an extra long vein, simply pull it out now that it has been loosened and exposed.
side note: if you’re looking for the tool I used, you can pick one up [here] – I adore it!
Now you should be able to easily peel off the shrimp’s “shell” and discard. [note: you can actually save and freeze shrimp shells to make shrimp stock, which makes a great base for seafood gumbo or bisque] To keep the tail on [this locks in extra flavor while cooking!] do not peel the entire shell off. Towards the tail the shell forms into little hinges. Nearly an inch above the tail is the first hinge, use your thumb and forefinger to hold on to the hinge and snap it left to right to separate it from the rest of the shell. Then simply peel off the remainder of the shell. I probably over-explained myself, but this is essentially the quickest and easiest shrimp prep method I’ve used to date! Plop each cleaned shrimp in the bowl of ice water to keep them fresh until you’re ready to saute.
get cooking! Heat a nonstick skillet to medium-high with a pad of butter. If you prefer to use a stainless or cast-iron skillet you may need a little extra butter and can de-glaze the pan to make a delicious sauce for the shrimp. [click here for a recipe for my favorite pan sauce] Once the butter starts to melt, add the shrimp [tail-on!] and seasoning. Flip the pan a few times [or stir] to coat the shrimp. Cook each side for about 2-3 minutes until shrimp curl and turn a pinkish-orange and opaque. The saute time will depend on the heat setting you choose, but regardless they’ll be perfectly cooked in a matter of minutes!
If you’re a citrus junkie like I am, you can also add an optional burst of lemon flavor to the finished product before digging in!
Now that we have a pan full of perfectly seasoned shrimp,
let’s get some veggies in on the fun!
Shrimp and Veggie Pesto Pasta
Yield 3 -4 servings
- 3-4 cups farfalle [bow-tie] pasta
- 1 [8 oz] container of sliced baby portobello mushrooms
- 2.5 oz baby spinach leaves
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 6 TBSP homemade or store-bought pesto
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus extra to garnish
- 1/4 cup milk or cream
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- a drizzle of olive oil
- a pinch of red pepper flakes [optional]
- salt and pepper to taste
- for the shrimp:
- 21 jumbo shrimp, defrosted
- 1-2 TBSP butter
- 1/4-1/2 tsp dried parsley
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp cajun seasoning blend [optional]
- 1/8 tsp onion powder
- 1/8 tsp paprika
- salt and pepper to taste
- First prep your shrimp as indicated earlier in the post and set aside in a cool bowl with ice water while you cook your vegetables and sauce.
- Bring a large non-stick pan to medium heat and saute the mushrooms, spinach and garlic in a teeny drizzle of your favorite healthy oil, taking care not to burn the garlic.
- While your vegetables cook, boil your pasta in a medium pot per the box's instructions.
- Drain, return to pot, stir in pesto, and set aside.
- Once the mushrooms are tender and the spinach has wilted, pour in your milk or cream and reduce heat to low.
- Add parmesan, garlic powder. onion powder, and paprika as well as any salt and pepper to taste. Simmer on low, stirring to combine the flavors and melt the cheese.
- I left the salt and pepper up to your own personal tastes just to be on the safe side. Some prefer a saltier pasta dish while others like to only add a pinch. I wouldn't leave it out [the salt helps further amplify the flavors of the dish] but simply choose your amount based on preference!
- The noodles and vegetable sauce should be done around the same time.
- Pour the sauce over the pot of pesto noodles and stir.
- Use your stove top's "warm" setting to keep the pot warm or use the lowest heat setting available.
- Quickly saute your shrimp [this should only take a few minutes] with butter and seasonings and add to the warm pasta and sauce.
- If you like your pasta piping hot, simply increase the heat a bit and stir constantly while it heats, adding the shrimp at the end. You can remove the tails before serving if you'd like or leave them on for presentation as many restaurants typically do. Up to you!
- Spoon into bowls or pile onto plates and garnish with freshly grated parmesan cheese and a pinch of red pepper flakes.
- Serve immediately.
feeling saucy? If you prefer a saucier pasta bowl, double the milk/cream, add a little extra pesto, and add any extra seasoning to taste. Let your taste buds be your guide!
Consider this comfort food with a twist!
It’s plate-licking good!
Though I did not receive monetary compensation for this post, I did receive a kit of OXO kitchen tools and 5 pounds of yummy EFC shrimp to whip up this recipe and partake in the challenge. In exchange I’m able to offer you a chance to win the same! Update: The giveaway has ended and the winner has been chosen at random by OXO. Thanks so much for entering and supporting my blog! You guys rock!